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Origami –Changing People’s Life for the Better

Please reflect for a minute on this question: How has origami contributed to your life? How would you answer it? In the video shown here, I interview Sara Adams (Germany) at the 2015 OrigamiUSA convention, in New York City.

During our conversation I asked Sara this very question. She responded eloquently and also answered other questions regarding her involvement with origami. Sara and I also explored our mutual passion for origami, our dedication to teaching, and other common interests.

Sara Adams –along with Hoang Tien Quyet (Vietnam), was a special guest at the OrigamiUSA 2015 convention in New York. Since 2007 Sara has shared origami video tutorials on her youtube channel. She lives with her husband and two young children in Münich, Germany.

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More about the OrigamiUSA Convention, 2015 in a this post:

Lady Coco –The Origami Studio Cat


Sara Adams teaching, OrigamiUSA convention 2015


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Hoang Tien Quyet giving his autograph, OrigamiUSA convention 2015

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Friends folding at the hospitality area, OrigamiUSA convention 2015

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How has origami contributed to your life?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Jean Kinsey September 11, 2015, 2:36 pm

    Sara’s interview…my two favorite folders! Sara has taken time off from teaching videos for other priorities…we have her videos to enjoy. the closed captions for English are very hard to understand.
    I am 50 years into folding…I met Mrs. Oppenheimer in 1965 and was inspired to teach and provide paper free all that time. Origami IS my life. I feel religious about it too. It has kept my fingers supple and keeps my brain alert in older age. I love the humor of origami, too. Thank you for being there for us, and you and Sara for inspiring me, especially in my later years. I have passed your site on to a number of others, and taught some of your figures as well, giving you full credit for them. Your gentle humor (like your cat) and creative ideas are wonderful, and your teaching is the best. Thank you, thank you for being there.

    • Leyla Torres September 15, 2015, 1:58 pm

      Thank you for your lovely words Jean. I’m very happy you enjoy this site!

  • Belinda Holbrook July 7, 2015, 10:24 pm

    I am an elementary school librarian. I have had an origami club for 10 and 11-year-old students that met once a week. I have especially loved seeing students who weren’t the best academically become stars because of their origami skills. I remember one boy back in 2001 who had some severe behavior problems. He could fold the tiniest things perfectly! I still have some of his models. He got a lot of positive recognition because of origami. One day I was at school and I got a phone call from him. He was calling to say that he was in the hospital and could I bring him some paper? Of course! He moved to another school but I connected with him once again when he was in junior high through the librarian in that school. I went there to do origami and of course, he was the helper. Just this last year I got another phone call. It was this same young man who is now 23 years old. He said he was driving by the school and wondered if the same librarian who had taught him origami was still there. He said he was now a carpenter and had a daughter. He said he still remembered the models I had taught him. I can’t tell you how special that made me feel to know that I had made that impression on him. Later on he stopped by to introduce his daughter to me. I gave them paper!

    • Leyla Torres July 8, 2015, 11:21 am

      Hi Belinda,
      You have shared a lovely experience with us. You did change someone’s life for the better using origami and got a well-deserved recognition for that. It is rewarding indeed for you and for that young man. A win-win!

  • Beatriz Blanco July 7, 2015, 6:11 am

    Me encanta tu blog. Siempre consigo ideas preciosas para mi trabajo: enseno espanol a ninos polacoa y tengo mi propia escuela donde aprenden jugando. Uno de los elementos fundamentales de mis clases es el Origami, que permite la repeticion de vocabulario y si consolidacion. Gracias a el ms clases son originales y gustan a los chicos… Y a los grandes tambien! Saludos carinoso de una venezolana en Polonia! Beatriz Blanco

    • Leyla Torres July 8, 2015, 11:17 am

      Gracias Beatriz, por compartir tu experiencia. Yo también he usado el origami para dar clases de español. Hay muchas actividades lindas que se pueden hacer para enseñar la lengua a través del origami!

  • Elsa Lucia Cabrera July 2, 2015, 6:47 pm

    Yo creci haciendo origami en casa. como sombreros y el famoso barquito para poner en el rio o en el lago navegar.Me encanta porque me relaja y al regalarlo la gente se pone feliz.
    Gracias por todos tus videos
    Elsa Lucia

    • Leyla Torres July 3, 2015, 9:00 am

      Gracia Elsa. Lo primero que yo aprendí en mi vida fue el barquito. Mi mamá me llevó a la universidad donde estudiaba y una compañera de ella me hizo un barquito… realmente no me enseñó a hacerlo sino que yo lo memoricé y después en la casa lo hice por mi cuenta. Aun siento ese asombro antiguo al hacer el barquito.

  • Ivonne July 2, 2015, 4:21 pm

    Tengo la piel de gallina al ver estas dos artistas reunidas.
    Dios les bendiga sus manitos.

    Desde Francia un agradecimiento enorme por todo lo que nos han compartido.
    Ivonne Rougeron

  • isabel July 2, 2015, 9:43 am

    Origami makes me a more patient person, and shows me that if I want to achive something I have to try and try.
    Also it helps me in queves and waiting rooms!!

  • Juan Carlo June 30, 2015, 10:18 pm

    I was making the math, and I’ve been folding almost non-stop for 25 years. I have met wonderful people, thanks to that first book I bought at the Museum of Natural History (“Origami Zoo”, by Lang and Weiss). I had the chance to start teaching in some way or another, something I had never done before. But it also taught me patience, perseverance, and an eye for composition and colors. It has also helped me to bring smiles to either complete strangers (including a little girl who was crying because she was so bored at a doctor’s office –I showed her a butterfly and she smiled a wonderful smile) or people close to me (my family has had their Christmas gifts wrapped in origami bags and boxes for the last ten years, or at least have a little origami model on them, and I always make sure my friends and girlfriends have a nice little origami model of their taste in our first “serious” encounter). I am convinced origami has helped me develop empathy a lot. Congratulations for the interview with Sara, whom I admire very much (I’m folding a Baby Buggy from her video!), she’s a wonderful person, I can see (as 95% of all origamists I’ve met are). And again, thank you, profesora, for a wonderful origami site.

    • Leyla Torres July 3, 2015, 8:57 am

      Thank you Juan Carlo, for sharing your lovely and loving experiences with origami. Hugs to you!

  • Charissa Sherwood June 30, 2015, 7:13 pm

    Origami is something I can enjoy with my children, and also my students at school. I am a teacher’s aide for children with intellectual disabilities. They are high school aged, and the students aren’t separated by cognitive level, so we have a whole range in the room from kids who are profoundly disabled, to kids who have severe learning disabilities but are able to function well socially. One child in particular stands out. He was a freshman, well over six feet tall, and we couldn’t get him to interact. I’m not sure how origami came up, but all of a sudden his face lit up because he’d done this at home. He taught me some new things! I started rewarding him for participating by bring origami paper, models, and books to do when his work was finished. Then the other kids wanted him to show them how to fold things. It was nice to find something he excelled at and it really built his confidence up.

    • Leyla Torres June 30, 2015, 7:29 pm

      Wonderful story Charissa. So great that you were able to use origami to raise your student’s confidence. Thank you for sharing it here. We all need to read about the benefits of origami!

  • Briana Wicce June 30, 2015, 12:31 pm

    For me, Origami is the perfect way to practice kindness, creativity, detachment, beauty, generosity, sociability, equality and much more, in a world so in need of this type of vibration. Enlist the help of Leila Torres and Sarah Adams to remain practicing all these things is too good! I have no words to express my gratitude for the love and commitment that you both have to teach this wonderful art so generously! I wish them all the best, always! You are wonderful!

    • Leyla Torres June 30, 2015, 6:21 pm

      Beautifully expressed Briana, thank you for writing it here!

  • Linda June 30, 2015, 10:05 am

    Hi Leyla! Great seeing you at the convention and thanks for sharing more about Coco! Wonderful interview with Sara.. who is such a great person… then again this year’s convention guests are fabulous!

    • Leyla Torres June 30, 2015, 11:36 am

      Yes, the conventions guests were great. I loved that they combined a wonderful teacher, Sara, with a very sensitive creator, Quyet. I love the vibrant and positive energy of being among a group of people who have so many reasons to practice this art of folding paper!

  • Jihane June 30, 2015, 4:49 am

    I have a personal story that for me is very VERY special.
    Last year, i was in à train folding a crane (i like to fold in transports). À man next to me, french, maybe 50, waited i finish and told my it was nice. I told him it was the traditional japanese crane. Hé told me that he knew it because it was the symbol of his Aïkido federation (club). So whe talked à little bit of aïkido because i once participated on a lesson of this art. Then he told me that there is something that look like aïkido in its spirit : the muslim prayer. In aïkido we make à salutation to the master, our head on the ground, and there is like à communion like in muslim prayer. And when he looked on the Tv or something muslim pray for him it has something with aïkido. I told him i was muslim and that it’s true. And maybe this Spirit of communion is at his highest level when muslim go to the pilgrimage in Mecca, because all people are in à same clothes, doing the same things, going the same direction, whatever their color, age, social status, country, language… He looked at me and he told me : “you should go !”. For me it was a sign and 2 months later i was in Mecca performing a little pelgrimage thanks to à little origami crane…

    • Leyla Torres June 30, 2015, 11:30 am

      This a beautiful story, Jihane. Your encounter with the man, your conversation and your sacred trip. Thank you for sharing it. Peace and paper always!

  • Jihane June 30, 2015, 4:34 am

    Hi Layla ! Thank you for this nice interview.
    I discovered origami only 3 years ago at the age of 33, thanks to à small workshop in a Tv show learning us the most classic box model. I went to internet to look for the model because i didn’t remember it and there i found… plenty of web sites, vidéos, forums, portfolios, blogs, wonderful designers…a whole world about origami. I choose one french website and i tried many of the models exposed with vidéo tutorial. I loved it ! I was really fascinated by the way something was taking “life” in my hand. I always loved paper but now it was be coming something else. Then i started folding origami at work to decorate my desk and people asked me how i do this or that. After i started to create some cards for birth, mother days, christmas or other events with origami for my family, friends or colleagues. And after i create à website to expose my work but it’s just a try. I also animated workshops with adults and kids. It was nice ! And i am very happy to see that one of my niece is very interested in origami. She is 8, and i always offer here à new paper set each time i saw here and we fold new models. This weekend it was the traditional tulip.
    What origami brings in my life… First of all, i always was sad when i was young and teen-ager and even after to be someone who have no passion, no hobby i loved. I was seeing friends who love playing tennis or chest or music but i loved nothing special. It was very hard for me when i was young. So now i can say “i love origami”, it’s my thing. Then, it help me canalize my energy, to concentrate. It’s also very nice to create something with your hand as Sara says. I was working in informatics and it’s very frustrating to see nothing you can touch at the end of your work. That’s maybe not à coincidence that i left my job… I will also say that origami permit me to know myself better. In the begining i was very surprised to see my own feelings when i foled. A kind of fear when i discover the next step of a fold : can i make it ? will i succeed ? And also a kind of proud when i finishe something. And also a lack of self confidence when it was to open my work to people’s view and maby critics. Also a préférence for solitary work, due to my personality which is a little bit shy (i am not like Sara or you Layla in this point). In one world, it simply brings me joy.

    • Leyla Torres June 30, 2015, 11:28 am

      Thank you Jihane, you share here a lot about yourself and I admire that. I smile when you mention shyness. Many people have reservations to even write a line here. I was one of those because I tend to be quite shy too. Origami has helped me break through those feelings. I love the social aspect of it!

  • Laurence W June 30, 2015, 1:36 am

    Thanks a lot for this great interview ! Sara sounds so enthusiastic and I love her idea of sharing , giving and getting back, working with your hands which is so relaxing . And I love creating with paper . Thanks to you Leila I’ ve managed to make some origamis , your videos are really well done.

    • Leyla Torres June 30, 2015, 11:22 am

      Thank you Laurence, it makes me very happy that you have been able to make the origami!

  • Christine Cheung June 30, 2015, 12:20 am

    My 3 children & I have been folding paper together since when they were little. I am very happy we share a great hobby.
    We started folding paper in ernest thro AMNH. We joined the national Origami society & the local folding group in the library. We have great fun folding together. We met great friends. They r now engineers in different fields.

    • Leyla Torres June 30, 2015, 11:21 am

      Hi Christine, thank you for sharing how you experienced origami together with your children… a life time of origami for them!

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